Despite extending the hours of operation of the Chembur-Wadala monorail to 14 a day from eight, the ridership on Tuesday-the first day of the extended run-was much lower than the daily ridership that the corridor had seen during first few days of its operation.
The ridership between 6 am to 8 pm on Tuesday was 15,016, much lower than the ridership in the first few days of monorail’s operation when it was running only from 7 am to 3 pm. About 18,000 to 20,000 commuters were traveling using the monorail at that time when several were flocking to the new mode of transport to try it out as a joyride.
“With most of the exams over, the possibility of a number of families leaving the city for vacations cannot be ruled out and it could be the reason for the reduced number of commuters,” said Dilip Kawathkar, spokesperson at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
However, though the ridership numbers have trickled with the ‘joyride’ factor now gradually wearing out with time, the number of commuters using the monorail has not stabilized yet. According to data provided by MMRDA, the number had steadily dropped since it started operating in the month of February. The ridership decline from 1.33 lakh commuters in the first week of the month to 1.18 lakh in the second week, down to 1.11 lakh in the third week and then 90,957 in the final week of the month.
Over the next two weeks the ridership plummeted further to 76,590 and than 41,405, respectively, but has picked up since then and has been volatile. In the last week from April 6 to April 12, 65,760 commuters used the monorail.
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However, officials appear hopeful to see increase in ridership. “We are still having a very good response from people. Most of the ridership is still initiating from terminal stations of Chembur and Wadala and fewer people are using the monorail from the other stations,” said an official from the monorail operations team.
On Tuesday, the first day of the monorail’s 14-hour shift, of the 15,016 commuters who travelled, 5,329 people, nearly 35 per cent, boarded at the Chembur station, while 3,636 or 24 per cent boarded from Wadala.
The 8.8-km Chembur-Wadala monorail was opened for public use on February 2. This is the first phase of the longer Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle monorail corridor.
Work on the second phase is still underway and is expected to be complete in 1-1.5 years.